Don’t sit in a plane aisle seat if you want to avoid illness


Most travellers feel bad when they disembark from an aeroplane due to the cramped seating, jet lag and dry air, but your choice of seat could also affect how you feel.

It has previously been reported by io9 that passengers who choose to sit in aisle seats are at higher risk of becoming ill than those in a middle or window seat.

Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said that passengers sitting on an aisle seat are at greater risk of picking up a virus during a journey. This is due to them coming into contact with passengers who may be carrying potential viruses and bacteria as they move about the plane. These passengers also hold onto the aisle seats to maintain their balance while walking up and down, and this increases the risk of disease being transferred.

Gerba made reference to a flight during 2008, from Boston to Los Angeles. On this flight a few members of a tour group had contracted norovirus, which caused diarrhoea and uncontrollable vomiting whilst on board.

Of the passengers who were infected and were not part of the tour group, most of them had been seated in aisle seats.


It is advisable to keep your immediate area within a plane as clean as possible by using disinfectant sprays and wipes. You should wash your hands as regularly as you can to avoid germs as every plan surface is covered in germs, including tray tables and armrests, with the toilets being the most hazardous.

Air Quality

There is no need to be overly concerned about the air quality in a plane. Although it is re-circulated, it combines with fresh air, which is obtained from outside, via the compressor parts of the engines. Once the air is inside the plane, it is passed through filters.

Image Credit: airbusky


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